Aston Villa Football Club announced the appointment of former Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard as first-team head coach on Thursday.
Gerrard replaces Dean Smith, who was fired on Sunday and arrives from Rangers FC in Scotland. The former England international guided the Glasgow side to their 55th Scottish first-division title in 2020-21 and ended rival Celtic’s nine-year reign as champions.
Aston Villa CEO Christian Purslow said in a club statement: “The Board of Aston Villa are delighted to appoint Steven as our new Head Coach. It has been very clear in our discussions with him that Steven’s coaching ambitions, philosophy, and values entirely match those of Aston Villa.”
Rangers’ undefeated title season in 2020-21 was three years in the making under Gerrard, who also led the club to consecutive UEFA Europa League Round of 16 berths.
Welcome to Aston Villa, Steven Gerrard. pic.twitter.com/MF8n9CPaYW
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) November 11, 2021
Gerrard said of his appointment: “Aston Villa is a club with a rich history and tradition in English football and I am immensely proud to become its new Head Coach. In my conversations with Nassef, Wes, and the rest of the Board, it was apparent how ambitious their plans are for the club and I am looking forward to helping them achieve their aims.”
It took Villa just four days to replace Smith, who was relieved of his duties after losing five straight Premier League matches. The open position was reportedly highly-sought after and attracted interest from all over Europe, but it’s clear now that Gerrard was Villa’s prime target.
Despite being relatively short on managerial experience, Gerrard–Champions League winner as a player with Liverpool in 2005–made most of his time at Rangers and showed that he’s a modern footballing mind unafraid to play out from the back.
He and his Rangers staff, who are reportedly set to join Villa as well, favored a 4-3-3 formation that featured attacking full backs and a high press.
Gerrard could have a sizeable January transfer budget as he and the Villa brass target a top-table finish.